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A christian Armenian cleric raps Charlie hebdo's sketches of Islam's prophet

Yusef Jalali

Press TV, Tehran

Charlie Hebdo insulting cartoons of Prophet Muhammad continues to draw condemnation. This time, the Armenian community in Iran censured the sacrilegious action by the French magazine.

Gregory Chiftchian is the archbishop of Armenian Christians in Iran’s northwestern province of Azerbaijan. Last week, he released a statement about Charlie Hebdo’s reprinting of the offensive cartoons, calling the move as xenophobic and racist.

The statement read, insulting the sanctities of a divine religion is tantamount to insulting all of the other religions, and the insult provoked the ire of followers of all monotheistic religions. Armenians are a minority in Iran that make up less than 1-percent of the population. They have a representative in Iran’s parliament.

Iranian MPs say despite its diverse demographic makeup, France has proved to be an unfavorable habitat for co-existence, as it is intolerant of other beliefs and faiths. Charlie Hebdo reprinted the insulting sketches on the eve of the trial of suspects of a deadly terrorist attack on the paper’s Paris offices in 2015.

The attack killed 12 people. Back then, Muslims joined the global wave of anger against the attack. The French government stopped short of condemning the weekly's offensive caricatures. President Emmanuel Macron viewed the insult as a matter of free speech.

Iranian lawmakers say Macron's take on the issue is meant to promulgate Islamophobia. Observers say freedom of expression is praiseworthy, as long as it does not violate the right to free religion.

The shockwave of Charlie Hebdo's insult to Prophet Muhammad seems to have spilled beyond the Muslim world. Now, if this is freedom of speech to the French president, to others, this is freedom of hate speech not only against Muslims, but all of those who believe in God and his prophets.

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